Colombia

COLOMBIA: Join our CPT delegation in September!

 
Street art in BogotĂĄ depicting the struggles of agricultural communities

CPT welcomes you to Colombia this September to experience a monumental era for Colombia as the government and the largest guerrilla group sign of a peace agreement and move towards the hard work of collective memory, truth, and reconciliation.  

Sign up today!  Tell a friend! 

COLOMBIA: The Popular Strike--A fight that never ends

 

Almost every year since August 2013 farmers in Colombia have taken to the main highways to demand guarantees from the government necessary to cultivate their land and thus maintain a livelihood to support their families; the campesinos, Indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians are not only demanding respect for their territories but also calling for a revision of national policies that currently threaten the development of the rural sector.
These mobilizations are supported by several sectors including students, healthcare professionals, teachers, religious groups and unions, which in turn represent an array of issues affecting the vast majority of the population.

COLOMBIA: Peace, reconciliation and coexistence—closer all the time

[Note: The following piece by CPT Colombia team partner and frequent delegation resource Francisco Jose Campo was written before the signing of the Havana Peace Accords last week.  It has been adapted for CPTnet and to reflect that reality.]

The national yearning for peace, reconciliation and coexistence between compatriots seems continuously more real than utopian. Undeniably, it’s darkest before the dawn. But the dawn of peace that is revealing itself to us is preceded by a dreadful darkness in this long night of a conflict that is not only military (as the military face of the conflict is becoming less vicious), but one that is ideological and political. Those on the far right are playing with the possibility of torpedoing the tangible advances of the negotiations, and the imminent signing of a political accord. Anti-restitution activity is the particular proof in this case. 

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Stop the criminalization of Colombian human rights defenders!

 

 

Dopa petition

 CPT Colombia asks the Colombian authorities to put a stop to the growing trend of judicial persecution and detention of campesino human rights defenders who are fighting for their rights to land and territory.

Alvaro Garcia, campesino leader from the communities of El Guayabo and Bella Union and member of the Victims Association of Magdalena Medio (ASORVIMM), remains incarcerated for almost two months now under false criminal charges.  He is one of two CPT partners who have suffered political persecution and imprisonment in the last nine months.  

Three other leaders from El Guayabo and Bella Union currently have arrest warrants similar to that of Alvaro’s, which severely encumbers the community’s legal struggle and distracts the authorities’ attention from the larger land issue at play.

Join us in asking that the authorities drop charges for all four leaders, release Alvaro and respect the campesinos’ right to remain on the land as the country moves forward towards a post-conflict reality.  

 

SIGN HERE

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Pray for the people of Barrancabermeja, Colombia.  The mayor plans to sell their public water company to a private corporation, which has human rights organizations quite worried.  Pray for the unionized workers at the water company who may lose their jobs if that happens.  

 

*Epixel for Peacemakers June 19, 2016  

 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me! Psalm 43:1

 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming  Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Quilting Peace--A report from the Vatican Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

 


From April 11-13, 2016, I had the privilege of representing JustFaith Ministries at a Catholic conference on nonviolence in Rome, Italy. The conference was titled, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to a Catholic understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.” This historic conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International, brought together about eighty people from around the world—lay people, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops—whose experiences of nonviolence ranged from scholarly and theological study to on-the-ground nonviolent resistance, to advocacy on a local, national, and international scale.

All sessions were rich with stories of hope in situations of despair, of mending in in places of fracture, of love in places where hate would be easier.

Bishop Paride Taban of South Sudan talked about Holy Trinity Peace Village, the manifestation of his dream, in which members of different tribes who used to call each other enemies now live, work, and solve problems as a community. The bishop’s peacemaking efforts extend far beyond the village, as he has, among other things, participated in negotiations between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Stories from the Philippines included both the nonviolent movement that led to Ferdinand Marcos stepping down from the presidency in 1986 and the countrywide peace education that has been going on there since shortly after that.

Fr. Francisco de Roux, SJ, shared his experiences from the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, where he and his teams talked to everyone—the military, the paramilitary, and the guerrillas— in an effort to create peace. In his personal statement he wrote, “in the Magdalena Medio, when we were surrounded by violent groups, we discovered that there is no safety in weapons. That the only true and sustainable protection comes through trusting people. And that to win trust we have to go through a long process of dialogue and mutual acceptance, and unpredicted individual and social changes, in the midst of uncertainties.” Now he is involved in the negotiations for a peace agreement that may finally bring the decades-long violence in Colombia to an end.

Each story added a new patch to the blanket of peace. 

Many more, we need so many more before we can cover the whole world in peace. 

COLOMBIA: A Week in Northeastern Antioquia, Colombia--Learning about the Armed Conflict

 

Delegates walk through the town of Mina Nueva, Antioquia. Photo: Caldwell Manners

Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and a grassroots organization CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.

Those of us on the delegation represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali. We had several purposes for participating: to learn about the armed conflict from the experience of those who live in the conflict zone; to learn about how each community undertakes peaceful resistance; to learn about the concerns of each community; and to learn about the solutions each community has developed to resist the challenges brought by the armed conflict.

COLOMBIA: Sign the Petition--Flood the US Congress with letters of Peace in Support of Colombia!

Days of Prayer and Action | Building Peace from the Ground Up

Send your members of the House and Senate an email laying out eight ways the U.S. Congress can support peace and respect human rights in Colombia. Just enter your zip code below to use our quick and easy email form!



Members of the community El Guayabo and El Garzal demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice on May 4, 2016. They had gathered to support Alvaro GarcĂ­a, a El Guayabo community member who was recently arrested.

Members of the community El Guayabo and El Garzal demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice, Barrancabermeja on May 4, 2016. They had gathered to support Alvaro GarcĂ­a, a El Guayabo community member who was recently arrested. Photo: Caldwell Manners

Each year, grassroots advocates across the United States and Colombia raise up their voices and call for peace during the Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia. Join us this year on May 23rd as we flood Congress with messages encouraging U.S. support for peace in Colombia!

Colombia can finally see peace on the horizon. But peace isn’t guaranteed with the signing of a peace agreement; true peace with truth, justice, and reparations will take years of work.

For more than 15 years, the U.S. government provided Colombia with military-focused assistance through Plan Colombia.

As the U.S. government begins to plan for a new “Peace Colombia” assistance package aimed at implementing peace, let’s encourage rights-respecting aid that recognizes that “post-accord” does not mean “post-conflict.”

Every email sent and phone call made shows Congress that we stand in solidarity with Colombian civil society, faith, and victims’ groups committed to building a lasting peace in Colombia.

Click on the link to sign the petition. At the bottom of the page after you enter your zip code below, your representative and senators’ contact information will appear, as well as a sample email.

SIGN HERE

Prayers for Peacemakers May 4, 2016 Light a Candle in Solidarity with Alvaro Garcia

Prayers for Peacemakers May 4, 2016 Light a Candle in Solidarity with Alvaro Garcia

Christian Peacemaker Teams Colombia is asking for your prayers and action in support of Alvaro Garcia, arrested as part of the ongoing persecution of the farming communities of El Guayabo and Bella UniĂłn.  For background on his arrest, and the authorities’ collusion with a wealthy landowner involved in the communities’ persecution, click here. 

At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday 5 May, members of El Guayabo and Bella UniĂłn are gathering in front of the courthouse in Barrancabermeja alongside their supporting organizations to demand transparency and fairness from authorities and to insist on an end to the stigmatization of small farmers as guerilla supporters.  The action will include testimonies, prayer, and lighting candles as a symbol of truth and hope. Afterwards, members of the communities will travel to the jail where the authorities are imprisoning Alvaro Garcia for a liturgical ceremony in hope that Alvaro will hear them. 

On Thursday, take action by lighting a candle to stand in solidarity with Alvaro Garcia. Post your image on FacebookTwitter, or email it to us. Use the hashtag #LibertadparaAlvaro.


 

COLOMBIA: Days of Prayer and Action 22-23 May 2016 celebrate grassroots peacebuilders

 

 

Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia

 

Save the Date: May 22-23, 2016

May 22-23, 2016 will mark the annual Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia (DOPA). For eleven consecutive years, churches of Colombia, North America and the surrounding region have joined this journey that mobilizes thousands of people to pray and carry out actions to call on the governments of the U.S. and Colombia to put an end to the armed conflict in Colombia. This year, people have real hope that a Peace Accord will be signed, ending  fifty-years of fighting between the government and the FARC guerillas. As “Plan Colombia” moves to “Peace Colombia” advocates in the U.S. must call for the U.S. to end militarized aid, and instead invest fully in Colombia’s peace.

This year’s DOPA theme, “Building Peace from the Ground Up” acknowledges the role grassroots peacebuilding has had in tilling the soil for the peace agreement, and the critical role it will play in nurturing a peace that will be sustained in Colombia. Across our two nations we will plant ‘seeds of peace’ together, committing ourselves to renewed work and policies needed for a just peace in Colombia to grow.

For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. (Zechariah 8:11)